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P1Magnifica



Bali Clownfish displaying its symbiotic relationship w- a Magnifica Anemone.

Bali Clownfish displaying its symbiotic relationship w- a Magnifica Anemone.
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8 Comments | Report
carolt55
 
carolt55 March 19, 2016
Beautiful and so crisp! Welcome to Viewbug!
fotohouse
fotohouse March 19, 2016
Thank you!
KnnVaUSA
 
KnnVaUSA March 20, 2016
It is beautiful :)
fotohouse
fotohouse March 28, 2016
Ty
Shellberry
 
Shellberry March 28, 2016
Beautiful!
fotohouse
fotohouse March 28, 2016
Thank you!
melissavines36
 
melissavines36 March 28, 2016
Beautiful shot! Welcome to viewbug!
fotohouse
fotohouse March 28, 2016
I feel very welcomed. Thanks!
photosbyAurora
 
photosbyAurora February 15, 2017
Wow! Amazing shot! I read that you got this shot from you aquarium but are you a scuba diver as well? I know very few photographers who could capture such a wonderful shot!
coleenlindstrom PRO
 
coleenlindstrom September 07, 2017
Spectacular
iverjohnson
 
iverjohnson March 13, 2018
Beautiful capture! Consider joining the marine life challenge in my profile?
spawn8508
 
spawn8508 May 20, 2018
Great shot. Please enter it into my challenge.

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was captured during my exciting, yet adventurous assignment for NatGeo in the shallow depths of the sea where a field showcasing a school of Clownfish and Anemones are vastly in harmony displaying their beautifully intrinsic nature. Actually, I'm just joking. The image was photographed right from my personal marine aquarium where this rare-bred Clownfish can only be found alongside this gorgeous Heteractis Magnifica (Ritteri Anemone). Although I would've loved to have journeyed into the Bali Reef for this shot, discovering this Hybrid Percula (Clownfish) wouldn't have been possible in the wild.
Time
My reeftank is set up to simulate natural daytime. This specific capture was rendered somewhere during 6am. It's paramount to treat it like any other Macro Photography where you would like the subject to be lethargic as possible, while not interrupting their routine or risk hurting them also. Clownfish in general are very active and high-volume in movement activity throughout the day and even after their final meal before the lights are off...so your best bet at engaging a good freeze would sit in the mornings right before they are fully awaken from the lights progressively radiating into sunlight range. Trying for late night is a tangible option as marine fish actually sleep and zone out (greatest time to catch a fish), but then you are introduced with a zombie-like fish that will result to a lifeless photo.
Lighting
Lighting is everything. With careful planning...it models the geometry desired, how dramatic shadows and highlights balance for mood, and dictate color rendition. During this shoot I was inclined to experiment with OCF (off-camera flash), whether it was from up top to emulate the hanging lights or from the side for shaping a more dramatic theme, to exploring what the aquarium's lighting solution provided...except I came to the realization using OCF would've stressed my loves more than I'd like to. So I opted for what was lit by the hanging lights. It worked out well as placement of the anemone was far left of the tank where it had moved for comfortable lighting conditions and that assisted the lighting angle to cast a wonderful dramatic falloff. Then...curiosity consumed the creative process and the decision to do ONE SHOT with a Profoto B1 bare head (domed) angled similar to a Rembrandt setting so that securing a darker background would push for better ground separation happened. This was that one shot. I was thinking to myself after, "Perfect, everyone's happy".
Equipment
The equipment involved at the time of the shoot included a Phase One IQ260 mounted w/ a Schneider Kreuznach 120mm f/4 LS Macro lens supplemented by a Manfrotto MT057C4-G tripod using a geared column, 1 Profoto B1 strobe light with a frosted glass dome head, and a black flag. The geared column of the Manfrotto tripod allowed total control of precision in increments when tightening the composition and the black flag omitted the light from bleeding into the background that could've caused reflection or glare and flare. With this image-capture in mind and at its incipiency, the body of choice was a Nikon D810 utilizing the Sigma 150mm f/2.8—my preference for macro shots. Normally, I would reserve the P1 system for select assignments and fashion/studio portraits. Somehow, the proclivity to pairing it with the B1 transpired to a worthwhile attempt. I mean, most of our paraphernalia are tools designated for particular tasks...but that doesn't translate to not being cleverly adjusted elsewhere.
Inspiration
I'm a Concept Artist. And to be an eclectic, it is imperative that we cull as much experiences and resources through immersion via different cultures and lifestyles—for better comprehension & empathy. The render was specifically requested by my younger brother, who was also diving into the culture of Marine Aquarium/Reef-keeping. He had perused through many forums or sites for a Picasso Clownfish background for print. After failed attempts at finding anything on search engines, he decided to pitch the idea to me. I was all for it, and the idea of contributing to the community was something to consider too, as well as beneficial to my Photography avocation. We made a lot of hobbyists happy and he has a wonderful 60x40 print smiling back at him in his living room. Every single one of my photos carry a story.
Editing
Absolutely, and the problem with stylizing is that there is a plethora of looks to oscillate between. For this endeavor, we chose a Portrait-esque setting that would invoke the viewer to focus on nothing but the fish and its symbiotic relationship with its host, vibrant textured colors, and a suspense in movement to apply energy. Photoshop CS6 was our primary application. The edit was worked on between my younger brother (a Professional Retoucher) and I on/off for the night. With the P1 system, details are heavily amplified which improved textures you see on the shoulder-bar or white pattern on the fish. We had to address a lot of issues relating to unattractive imperfections on the fish and anemone, particles from the water, and repetitive hotspots from the glowing tips of the anemone's fingers—cleanup techniques such as the healing brush, levels, and frequency separation resolved the nuisances. From here, color treatment was applied using simple tools such as bumping up vibrance and a trick we use with the gradation adjustment layer mixed with a contrast blending layer where we set 50% to gray and for the shadows (blackest part of the bar), a purple hint to add nuance, with the highlights (whitest part of the bar), a cobalt blue to better transition the colors. The idea is to compliment the color palette that already exist, yet ensure the cast doesn't overpower from main subject matter. To finalize the process, we used advance DnB (dodge and burning) to pull radiance in the face of the clownfish and carved wherever we felt needed more shape and form. Post-processing is always the most fun and exciting part for us. I hope you all enjoyed the edit.
In my camera bag
What's inside my "bag"? Bodies: Nikon D4, Nikon D810, and Canon 5d Mark III Lenses: Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, Nikkor 85mm f/1.4, Canon 200mm f/2L, Canon 14mm f/2.8, and Sigma Macro 150mm f/2.8 Cleaning Kit: Carl Zeiss lens cleaning wipes, air blower, 3 microfiber clothes, and 2 lens pens Misc: Allen keys, various sized screwdrivers, tripod mounts, bounce cards, lee filters, release forms, goodies like that Aside from the bag, the P1 system is housed in a custom Pelican case with its own accessories.
Feedback
When it comes to Photography in general, try to forecast the setup and brainstorm possible outcomes beforehand to reduce the strain of stress. In contrary to that as a paradox, put that finger on the shutter when you see an opportunity fit or in the mood...just because you're in the mood. That's the beauty of Photography—some of the best images/photos produced can be meticulously planned or impulsively shot at random. What I'm trying to delineate is this: allow yourself to enjoy the experience of planning or sporadically shooting in lieu of focusing on just the goal and outline where it can possibly deter you from progressing as an artist due to expectations not met. Aside from that, if I am strictly giving advice pertaining to Aquarium Photography...especially saltwater, the first rule of thumb would be to consider turning off flow-powerheads. These devices that are crucial for circulating necessary nutrients around the fish tank can be momentarily powered down to greatly reduce parallax, refraction, and motion blur from detritus. Time your shots and read the behavior patterns of whatever subjects will be pursued for Photography. For nonflash engagement: Use a tripod as your shutter wouldn't be that fast unless the lights equipped can output that much lumens. Have patience and give the subject time to acclimate to the change in landscape before comfortably behaving naturally. Let a few clicks give you a sense of preview to what the image may look like and adjust until your moment is ready. The aquarium is a very contrived aquascape unless you have live rocks and corals to mimic what would be seen in nature. Be sure to purchase lightbulbs that have the highest CRI (color rendition index) for quality color fidelity. You may use a black fabric or flag to reduce light bleed to the background for easier autofocusing since some lens are so good these days to do so. I personally shoot in manual focus. For On-Camera Flash engagement: Please, just don’t do it. You can...although I feel OCF has much more flexbility. For OCF engagement: Please use a C-Stand w/ weighted bag(s) and inspect that the lighthead is secured for assurance. Adjust Kelvin contingent on the aquarium light's color temperature. Shutter speeds should be at least equal to the mm of your lens—the faster the shutter speed the better the freeze point. Go forward with the shot as you would any normal portrait with use of a kicker or rim light, multiple lights at different angles, or in my case...single lit for a more dramatic effect. Without the need for stabilization, freehand the camera at different perspectives for a more rewarding composition. These are just technical tips. The best advice I could give, would be "learn how to see" your image and have intent before initiating. Ask a lot of questions like: Do I want this perceived as powerful, informative, candid, etc? If so, how would I approach it? With worms-eye view, birds-eye view, or eye level? Is motion necessary and add or detract from my image? Would it create a sense of energy or distract the eyes from the main subject? How many subjects and in what order? What is my primary, secondary, and tertiary subjects if a lot of elements are present? What color palette am I dealing with or would like to paint for the viewer? Do they affect mood or express something? Does it feel comfortable to look at? It's really about problem solving...and that is how the technical experience develops. I always ask myself this: What story am I trying to express or convey? Why does it cohere to my intent? And how will I accomplish that? This is my creative approach and I hope it contributes to your Photography. Thanks for the time.

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